Sky Burials - Is it practiced anywhere outside Tibet and India? Could Australia?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Lumbuck Thornton, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Vultures are used in some cultures to dispose of the dead and it turns out to be far more environmentally friendly than burning precious fire wood, natural gas or polluting rivers or ground water. Then there is the loss of trace element and precious nutrients also associated with western burials deep below the root zone and in containers sometimes that don't break down to return the componets of life for recycling.

    Obviously you would need a remote location away from communities that might be concerned about the health issues and body parts falling from the sky. Could a fenced off compound with only bird access (no rodents) in the middle of a national park do the trick?

    Would wedge tailed eagles be up to the task? I read on the net they can sometimes attack live adult kangaroos in groups. Could they get nasty if there was a shortage of bodys and they had aquired a taste for human?

    Would wedge tailed eagles overcome their territorial instincts and have enough of a collective appetite to devour enough bodies to be a viable dispersal source? With 70% of their diet being rabbits, what impact would this human have? How far would they cart their rabbit size chunks? Who would do the chopping or could it be automated? Do they need lots of trees for roosting and eating?

    David Suzuki in one of his books talks about rivers flowing backwards, how nutrients from the fish in rivers was somehow ending up high in the forest trees. It turned out to be the eagles carrying the fish and pooing from the trees which then appreciated the trace elements only found in the sea - carried up by the migrating fish. The bears also ate the salmon and crapped on the trees.

    Could passed on humans be used to fertilise the landscape via birds? By changing much of the landscape with broad monoculture agriculture, how much have we interfered with this refertilisation process, taking away cover and carriers of nutrients from rivers back out inot the upper parts of catchments.

    Would other Australian birds be able to assist? Kookaburras, Magpies to pick up any scraps left or dropped by the eagles? Some bodies might have to be excluded from the process because of medications - these have had a devastating impact on some birds overseas.

    You can be buried under trees in some land restoration projects in some parts of Australia but is this the only way to go or might it be better to use a more widely dispersed approach?

    What would happen to the bones? would bits of bones accumulate under the roosting trees of break down in a composting pile of droppings and biological activity quickly enough?

    What sort of grave side event would occur to fairwell the departed before they get departed and departed? What sort of memorial would there need to be ? Composted tree burials at least get a GPS location for future reference. How far would people travel as a one way tourist to utilise such a service?

    How much would these sky burials cost? It appears to be a big business and maybe some of the profits could be ploughed back into funding maintenance and study of the ecosystem.

    Many of atoms in your body have been through up to three exploding star suns already - what would be so wrong about dispersing through an eagles.

    Warning - this thread may contain unpleasant content !!!

    What are the health, environmental, ecological, finacial and social implications ?
     
  2. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    If you want to save on burial costs you can donate your body to the School of Anatomy at Sydney uni.
    possibly other Unis too
     
  3. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Obviously organ donation should be encouraged along with use for training purposes where possible. Some of the universities only have contracts to collect in a 60km radius and have more than enough locally.
     
  4. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Have seen some aboriginal burial grounds that allow for animals to take their pick. I have always wanted a pair of cement booties and be thrown into the ocean so I can give back a feed to all the fish and crabs I have eaten in my life. Many think that is strange, but being in the ground in a box or a container of dust is even more strange to me.
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I want to be hot composted. I'll take bids from anyone who wants to take on the task. You just have to wait till I'm dead first. Not planning on that for a bit yet.
     
  6. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    I like the idea, but we probably have too many big bones that would be left behind for a long time,if you could incorporate a Tasmanian devil into the chain that would sort out that problem.
     
  7. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Bones are prefect for Bon(e)fires! And the ash is good for the garden.
     
  8. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Big Bones are too hard for composting process but if the eagles were only given rabbit size pieces then bits of bone would remain but could at least be carried. If they were mainly roosting over wetlands then the nutrients and breakdown of bones would ultimately occur in the swamp over a long timeframe. I like the idea of the tasmanian devils but it would be a bit hard outside Tassie and to make sure they didn't tear themselves apart as well ! Maybe it is another business Tassie could get into but it sounds like the devils have enough problems with disease at the moment and putting human in the mix might make things worse.
     
  9. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
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    New Zealand use to have a giant eagle- the Haast eagle, that was capable of killing a human. They're extinct now. We don't have any large birds of prey any more :-(
     
  10. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    On the subject of bones - I have composted whole kangaroos and had no trace of bones at the end and i know a bloke around here that regularly composts a cow in huge compost piles. It may be the BD preps but I have noticed a few chook bones making it through the process.

    Pebble perhaps you could train possums to do the job? But you may wish to put them on your bon(e) fires.

    Eco I would put my hand up but at my age I would be flat out outlasting you.

    We have a couple of wedge tails that regularly circle arounfd here and would no doubt like to have a bone to pick with me.

    But I am with Eco - I think I would rather just crawl on to a compost heap when I feel crook enough. What would to implications for municipal laws Marko???
     
  11. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Possums don't eat alot meat I don't think. We have rats and stoats (and cats and dogs), but they don't have the same allure as an eagle ;-)

    And of course hawks and falcons, who would manage smaller pieces than an eagle. Kea, magpies, seagulls would all take smaller bits too.
     
  12. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    [​IMG]

    I reckon they need a logo !
     
  13. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    [​IMG]
    This might work !

    Could it take off here?
     
  14. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    It used to be practiced in North America by many indigenous cultures prior to Euro-centric invasion / expansion.

    Personally, I wanna be buried like "Iz."


    ./wanders off whistling 'Somewhere over the Rainbow'
     
  15. outcast

    outcast Junior Member

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    nice idea, unfortunately the mindless, backward beaurocrats would kill the idea off just like they did eco-coffins. Then of course the Funeral Industry would yell loud. Same for burial at sea, just need a shroud, a weight & the cost of renting a boat to go out there.

    It recently cost me $6,800 to cremate my mother -- no funeral-service, flowers or anything, just a box, the labour and costs of death certificates etc. -- may have been the incredably unbelievable cost of fuel for the burners here tho.

    Recently saw a program on TV about current sky-burials in central South America.
     
  16. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    outcast, in NZ various coffins and locations are ok (if I follow certain rules of course!) and I couldn't see anything online about eco-coffins being illegal in Oz.
    I'm pretty curious about this stuff at the moment, as my family are doing a bit of the "when you pop your clogs..."
    My dad wants to build his and I've been given free-rein on the paint-job or whatever.
    Here's a link to pics of bonkers Ghanian coffins. Not quite what my lot are thinking of, but fun, in a totally OTT kind of way: https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePag...y.php?ID=52081
    As pebble mentioned, we don't have anything impressive to eat us over here: contributing to the national fly population isn't particularly dignified!
     
  17. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    there are eco-burials without the use of chemicals on the body in CA, with no headstones, and they use eco-coffins.
    https://www.thegreenfuneralsite.com/GreenCemeteries.html
     
  18. purecajn

    purecajn Junior Member

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    I placed this elsewhere, but it seems appropriate here. I like the idea of letting plants compost me https://infinityburialproject.com/ & https://infinityburialproject.com/burial-suit As for the large bones, forget the wombats and Tasmanian devils, just look in your own home and feed them too the dogs. (No disrespect intended for those religious out there) I mean 1 animal is good as another as long as they dispose of them, right?
     
  19. Lumbuck Thornton

    Lumbuck Thornton Junior Member

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    Got to start somewhere, thanks for sharing your story - there are certainly lots of concerned others out there.
     
  20. outcast

    outcast Junior Member

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    Eco-coffins aren'e actually illegal here but the idea was never allowed to get off the ground.
    In reply to my questions, a funeral director here said that cardboard coffins were just as expensive as the cheapest wood ones & didn't look as nice -- which is not true as shown on a TV show by the inventor of one. I suspect its a "closed shop, closed mind" syndrome at work.

    Vertical burials were also touted, especially as cemetery space is now at an expensive premium -- prices are skyrocketing for just a 50yr lease (not for ever as they were when my dad died). Sure is quicker to use an auger on a backhoe to drill a 12ft shaft (so you're still 6ft under) than to dig a conventional grave.

    BTW Tassie Devils may not be around in the wild in 5yrs time !! but I guess human meat would be almost as healthy to feed those in captivity as other meats ?? Oh, dear, Soylent Green may become reality !
     

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